On Wednesday, Alex gave a fantastic and much-needed presentation on watering techniques.
He listed something factors to consider:
- Sun v. shade
- Morning v. afternoon sun
- Reflected heat from pavement, buildings, etc.
- Type of soil (sandier, lighter soil needs to be watered more; clay-like, heavier soil needs to be watered less)
- Type of plant
- Plant age
- Weather conditions (sun, wind, etc.)
The soil should always remain somewhat moist, like a damp paper towel. It should not be crumbly and dry but also should not be dripping wet. You can test this out by feeling the surface of the soil.
Young plants need more consistent moisture closer to the surface to penetrate shallow roots. They should be watered lightly and more frequently.
Some recommended techniques include bottom watering, as watering from the top could kill seeds. However, our garden mentor, Professor Ellmore, says that as long as the seeds are watered with a watering can that has a sprinkler head, plants should be fine. After all, seeds have to live through rainstorms in nature.
Also, plants must not be overwatered because damping off could cause fungi and diseases, which can adversely affect or even kill new seedlings. Chamomile tea is supposedly a holistic anti-fungal natural remedy that can be sprayed on soil. Garlic serves the same purpose.
For mature plants, here are some watering techniques:
- Slow, deep watering: it builds deeper roots. This sometimes means 2 rounds of watering. In our garden, we often do a round of watering, do some other garden chores, then come back and water some more.
- Water close to the base: this prevents splashing , which can cause fungi in the soil to spread to the plants.
- Avoid leaves: this avoids sunburn, which can occur on very sunny days if there are droplets of water on the leaves. Water on leaves also encourages fungal diseases to attack leaves, buds, flowers, and fruits.
Alex also noted that people tend to underwater, not overwater.